Loknya | Pskov

/ Valentina K., born in 1929: “My mother used to tell her that she needed to hide somewhere, but she answered that the Germans treated them well and that there was no need.” © Rita Villanueva/Yahad - In Unum Maria Z., born in 1930: “The living conditions were awful, especially in winter when it was minus 40° outside. Hundreds of POWs died due to lack of food, cold and disease.”© Rita Villanueva/Yahad - In Unum Nikolay S., born in 1925: “The Jews were shot at the foot of the hill not far away from the MTS [Machine Tractor Service], outside of Loknya.” © Rita Villanueva/Yahad - In Unum The former Soviet POW camp. Hundreds of POWs died in the camp from starvation and inhuman living conditions. © Rita Villanueva/Yahad - In Unum The Yahad team during an interview. © Rita Villanueva/Yahad - In Unum The execution site of 37 Jews murdered in February 1942. © Rita Villanueva/Yahad - In Unum

Execution of Jews in Loknya

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Machine Tractor Station (MTS)
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1944
Number of victims :
37

Witness interview

Maria Z., born in 1930: “A camp for Soviet POWs was created in Loknya. It was located in Danilovo. The area was fenced in with barbed wire. There were watchtowers as well. Nobody could leave the camp’s territory, although some inmates managed to escape by digging the holes under the barbed wire. The living conditions were awful, especially in winter when it was minus 40° outside. Hundreds of them died due to lack of food, cold and diseases.” (Witness n°388R, interviewed in Morozovo, on September 10, 2012)

Soviet archives

“The Germans were extremely cruel to the Jews. During the occupation, only 17 [Jewish] families were living in Loknya, a total of 51 people. The Germans killed all of them. During the night of February 2, 1942, 37 Jewish people were shot to death. The Germans forced them [the Jews] to kneel on the edge of a pit, into which they fell after they were shot; afterwards they [the Germans] covered the half-dead people with earth.” [Act drawn up by Soviet State Extraordinary Commission (ChGK) on October 15, 1944; GARF-7021-20-13]

Historical note

Loknya is an urban locality located 180 km (112mi) southeast of Pskov and 60km (37mi) northwest of Velikiye Luki. There is no exact information on when the first Jews started to settle in the town. They lived alongside the non-Jewish population throughout the urban settlement. The majority of Jews from Loknya were either merchants or artisans. There was no Jewish school. The Jewish and non-Jewish children went to the same school. On the eve of the war, in 1939, 193 Jews lived in Loknya, comprising aroundd 9% of the entire population.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Loknya was occupied by the Germans on July 20, 1941. By this time, the majority of Jews, mainly the richest, had managed to evacuate to the East. Shortly after the occupation, all the Jews were registered and marked with a sign ‘Jude’ on the back of their clothes. In September 1941, 51 Jews, according to the Soviet archives, were rounded up and confined in a house located on the Sotsialisticheskaya Street. The house was not fenced in, but guarded by local police. Although it was guarded, the Jewish inhabitants were allowed to leave its territory. The ghetto existed for about 4 months until its liquidation in February 1942. During the night of February 1-2, 1942, the Germans rounded up 38 Jews and took them to the shooting on the territory of the Machine Tractor Station (MTS) located near the village of Danilovka. Once on the site, the Jews were first forced into a shed, and then in groups of two were led out of the shed and forced to kneel on the edge of the pit located nearby before being shot to death.  The shooting was conducted by SD unit of the Einsatzgruppe A. During the shooting one Jewish man, Aleksandr Filonovskiy, was not injured and managed to climb out of the pit. He survived the war by hiding. Several dozen Roma and partisans were also executed at that location. The isolated shooting of Jews probably continued in spring and late 1942.

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